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Cotoletta alla Milanese

By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:

Today, I’d love to share something very traditional from Northern Italy—crunchy, golden, and delicious Cotoletta alla Milanese!

This is the most popular dish in Lombardy: a tasty, thick bone-in veal chop breaded and pan fried. Cotoletta derives from the term costoletta, which is a rib. In an ancient book from 1783 called “History of Milan,” the author, the historian Pietro Verri, writes that this tasty steak was served for the first time the 17th of September, 1134, during a banquet organized by monks. It was the celebration day dedicated to Saint Ambrogio, the worshiped protector of Milan. The monks called this dish in Latin Lombolos Cum Panitio.

It is very probable that this dish was a re-invention of the Austrian wienershnitzel, but cotoletta is different—it has the bone, it is not so big, it is fried in butter instead of lard, and you have only to drizzle fresh lemon on it instead of gravy.

Today, an authentic version of this dish is very difficult to find in a restaurant because they serve a breaded slice of meat without the rib . . . and sometimes they serve it with ketchup!

It is very good, but it is not the original recipe.

Here the authentic recipe of Cotoletta alla Milanese!

Photo: By Paolo Piscolla - originally posted to Flickr as Cotoletta e patate al forno, CC BY-SA 2.0

Cotoletta alla Milanese

4 veal chops

1 cup (200 g) flour

2 eggs

1 cup (200 g) breadcrumbs


8 oz. (200 g) of butter to fry

Fresh lemon cut in wedges

French the bone by cutting away any trace of fat—even from the border of the steaks. Scrape the end of the rib with a knife until clean.

Pour the flour and the breadcrumbs onto two different plates.

Crack the eggs into another bowl and whisk.

Dredge the chop into the flour—keeping the bone clean.

Dip the chop into the egg mixture, then again in flour, and finally dredge into the breadcrumbs.

Place the steak on a tray and add more breadcrumbs if necessary. Proceed with the other chops in the same way.

Take a skillet big enough to contain the veal chops and place it over medium heat. Melt the butter, then add the steaks. Pan-fry them until you notice a crispy golden crust, flipping the chops every 3 to 5 minutes. Make sure to pay attention during the first minutes because the crust is particularly fragile.

Once cooked, place the cutlets over paper towels to drain the excess fat.

Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately with a lemon wedge.


Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), The Grimore, The Magic of the Moon, and Magic Herbs (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).

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